The Punter's De-Brief: Outsiders claim the spoils on both tours

Si Woo Kim with the Wyndham Championship trophy
Si Woo Kim with the Wyndham Championship trophy

It was a week for the layers with longshots winning on both tours, but how did our man fare in the Czech Republic and North Carolina? Read Steve's customary look back on all the week's golf action here to find out...


“The week started with one of my two pre-event picks in the Czech Republic, Haydn Porteous, playing his first nine holes in ten-over-par on Thursday morning and that set the tone for the entire week!”

Asian Tour based American, Paul Peterson, who was matched at 1000.0 before the off was one of the most unexpected winners of the year on either tour when he claimed the D&D REAL Czech Masters yesterday. The 28-year-old had never won anywhere before and he wasn't in the sort of form to suggest that would change any time soon.

He even started slowly too, but having trailed by eight strokes at halfway he broke the course record on Saturday and then shot the joint-best round of the day on Sunday to beat the defending champ, Thomas Pieters, by a stroke.

Over at the Wyndham Championship, 21-year-old Korean, Si Woo Kim, who had been matched at 200.0199/1 before the get-go, survived a small wobble on the back-nine and a 90-minute weather break to successfully convert a four-stroke 54 hole lead to become the youngest international winner on the PGA Tour since Seve won the same event in 1978.

It was a very impressive performance and it was most apt that he birdied the 72nd hole to equal the tournament record score of 21-under-par.


My Bets

The week started with one of my two pre-event picks in the Czech Republic, Haydn Porteous, playing his first nine holes in ten-over-par on Thursday morning and that set the tone for the entire week!

My pre-event picks were poor in the States too and I couldn't get to grips with either event in-running either. As highlighted in the In-Play Blog, I backed Ryan Evans and Matt Fitzpatrick after round one but although both were placed, neither really looked like winning and I made a number of ultimately poor decisions on Saturday and Sunday.

I went with the stats at the Wyndham and concentrated on the leading six at halfway but when I'd eliminated all bar two, I plumped for the wrong one. I was more than happy to dismiss Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Jim Furyk, Lucas Glover and Kevin Na, who are all, to varying degrees, flaky in-contention but choosing Hideki Matsuyama over the halfway leader and eventual winner was a mistake, and I have more on why below.

Then yesterday morning, I went against the stats in Europe and backed Thomas Pieters at long odds on (in a double with Kim), even though only 42% of 54 hole two-stroke leaders on the European Tour have won in the last 20 years.


What Have I Learned This Week?

I've broken a few fundamental old standing rules of mine and I'm a bit cross with myself. When I narrowed the Wyndham down to two at halfway, having eliminated four flaky types, I went with Matsuyama, even though I knew he was putting deplorably.

He was matched at just 3.259/4 early on in round three but his misbehaving flat-stick soon took its toll. On Saturday alone he missed putts from nine feet twice, seven feet twice, six feet, three feet and inside three feet! It was an incredibly poor putting performance but it wasn't a surprise. I knew he hadn't been putting well in a long while but stupidly overlooked it and in doing so I went against two longstanding rules I've followed for years.

Firstly, avoiding bad putters should be an absolute given and secondly, if I know there are strong negatives about the players the stats suggest the event concerns, just walk away and don't play.

It's sometimes worth going with the unknown quantity if the price is right and I was tempted by Kim at 7.613/2 at halfway and with hindsight that was the play but it's easy to say that now. At the time, I was worried about both his lack of experience and whether he could back up his course record of 60 on Friday. They were legitimate concerns and I've no regrets about leaving him out but backing the poor putting Matsuyama was a mistake I shouldn't have made.

I was also guilty of putting far too much faith in Thomas Pieters, even though there was plenty of evidence to suggest he wasn't the rock-solid good thing that his odds suggested he was. As already mentioned, the stats were as clear as day with a round to go and yet I chose to ignore them.

Add into the equation that he was very unimpressive in-contention at the True Thailand Classic in March, he'd played the back-nine poorly on Saturday, that he was attempting to defend the title, and that he needed back-to-back victories to get into Darren Clarke's European Ryder Cup team and his defeat makes plenty of sense. He won back-to-back tournaments this time last year so as unlikely as that seems now, he'd have thought that possible and that could have only heaped on even more pressure.

I know this is all in hindsight but yet another rule of thumb I ignored is to lay anyone at heavy odds-on during round three. Pieters hit 1.282/7 after just 10 holes on Saturday and with the finishing line so far away that was a ridiculously short price. He'd have had to be leading by around five strokes at the close of play to be any shorter than that.

That's more than enough chastising for one week. I may have made a few errors but it's no good crying over spilt milk for too long and we've got a couple of really nice events to attempt redemption this week. There's a decent field assembling for the Made In Denmark and the FedEx Cup Playoff Series kicks off on Thursday with The Barclays so I'll be back later today with a preview of each event.


*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter


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